What It Was Like Bringing an Authentic Feeling to Joe in Soul

There are a couple of things that make Pixar's Soul unique but one of the big ones is that this is the first a black character has been front and center in a Pixar movie. The studio said that they went through a lot of work to make sure that the movie was authentic and we got the chance to speak to animator MontaQue Ruffin about the project.

"I was fortunate to be part of it — both as an animator and part of the internal culture trust," said animator MontaQue Ruffin. "The culture trust is like a collective of black artists that work at Pixar — myself, Aphton [Corbin, Story Artist], Michael [Yates, Story Artist], the list can go on and on. And we'll get together and we'll meet with Pete [Doctor, Director], Dana [Murray, Producer], Jude [Brownbill, Animation Supervisior], Bobby [Podesta, Animation Supervisor]. And we will share our experiences, our collective walk of life experiences. And we'll be able to bring that to the acting choices that are represented on screen or at least review animation, and give our gut impression or take on it. I think just having the opportunity to do that was remarkable.

What It Was Like Bringing an Authentic Feeling to Joe in Soul
In Disney and Pixar's "Soul," Joe Gardner (voice of Jamie Foxx) is a middle-school band teacher whose true passion is playing jazz. But one small misstep takes him from the streets of New York City to The Great Before – a fantastical place where new souls get their personalities, quirks and interests before they go to Earth. Globally renowned musician Jon Batiste provides the original jazz compositions and arrangements for the film and Oscar®-winners Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross from Nine Inch Nails compose the score that drifts between the real and soul worlds.  ©2020 Disney/Pixar. All rights reserved.

"That also included taking research trips," Ruffin continued. "At Pixar, we pride ourselves on the research and being authentic. One of the biggest things that I love about Pixar is that we're honest every step of the way. We don't shy away from it when we do the things that we don't know. We seek out help and we're not afraid to rely on leaning on the shoulders and the knowledge of one another to bring something authentic to the table. So I know we've done that for Soul, we've done that with Joe and his community and I'm very excited to share that with everybody."

The full interview with Bobby Podesta (Animation Supervisor), Jude Brownbill (Animation Supervisor) & MontaQue Ruffin (Animator) is below and please ignore how terrible I look I didn't know we were recording video.

A musician who has lost his passion for music is transported out of his body and must find his way back with the help of an infant soul learning about herself.

Soul, directed by Pete Docter and co-directed by Kemp Powers, stars Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Daveed Diggs, Phylicia Rashad, and John Ratzenberger. It will be released on Disney+ on December 25th.

About Kaitlyn Booth

Kaitlyn is the Editor-in-Chief at Bleeding Cool. She loves movies, television, and comics. She's a member of the UFCA and the GALECA. Feminist. Writer. Nerd. Follow her on twitter @katiesmovies and @safaiagem on instagram. She's also a co-host at The Nerd Dome Podcast. Listen to it at http://www.nerddomepodcast.com

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